Updated on 2024/06/24


OGA BALDWIN, William L. Q.
Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences, School of Education
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Overseas Activities

  • 小学校英語のためのゲーム化ICT教材の開発・発展


    USA   University of Connecticut


  • Faculty of Education and Integrated Arts and Sciences   Graduate School of Education

Internal Special Research Projects

  • New frameworks for the assessment of competence

    2023   Richard M. Ryan, Luke K. Fryer, Emiko Hirosawa, Yuka Kono, Lishi Liang, Kaori Nakao

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    According to self-determination theory, the need toexperience competence is one of a well-recognized trio of basic psychologicalneeds, alongside the need for autonomy and relatedness. Although often assessedat the activity level, the need for competence is met situationally whenlearners feel able to understand and affect the world around them. In languagelearning, this means the feeling of success firstly in the comprehension andthen in the use of the new language. This situated, contextual sense ofcompetence helps to explain the complex and dynamic development of motivationwithin the language learner. In this review, we focus on the need forcompetence as it applies both theoretically and empirically to the study oflearning a new language. Building on scholarship showing that competence needsatisfaction is a powerful correlate of motivation in education generally, wesurvey the evidence for competence need satisfaction as a specific predictor oflanguage learning motivation and achievement. We completed comparisons of competenceneed satisfaction with self-efficacy, self-concept, mindsets, and other abilitybelief comparisons, and tested a comparative model. The model concluded thatthe situated sense of competence was the best predictor of achievement, andthat this could then be used as a potentially reliable tool for self-assessment.We additionally tested a model of self-efficacy / competenceacross language subjects, confirming our previous findings of language transferbetween foreign language and Japanese subjects in junior high school. Competencebeliefs for English as a foreign language had robust longitudinal effects onJapanese language competence beliefs. Attitudes toward Japanese furtherpredicted achievement in Japanese; the same finding held for English attitudesand achievement. Further, achievement in both subjects did not predictattitudes, indicating a localized year-on-year effect; achievement in eachschool year is partially informed by achievement in the previous one, butattitudes were influenced by past attitudes, rather than past achievement. Thisindicates that improving students sense of competence in both language subjectscan have long term benefits throughout the schooling and learning system.The next step in this process will be to see what aspects ofachievement have a direct effect on students’ attitudes and competence beliefs.Future studies assessing learners’ attributions and reasons for experiencingdifficulty, measuring factors such as significant others, learning focusdifficulties, and presentation and media differences are hypothesized to play alocalized role in these attributions. These hypothesized will be tested alongside advances in digital games for learning.

  • Longitudinal measurement of English sound-letter acquisition in elementary school

    2022   Luke K. Fryer, Kaori Nakao, Lishi Liang, Alex Shum

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    This funding was used to investigate the changes inJapanese elementary students’ understanding of sound-letter (phoneme-grapheme)connections over time. Paper based and digital tests were used to assess fundamentalreading skills among elementary students between 3rd and 6thgrades. Cross-sectional investigations into differences indicated a stepwiseprogression in the change in skills; longitudinal follow-ups using paper testsconfirmed these results. Results from these investigations indicated that thecurrent course of study does increase students’ learning, albeit with a dosageso low as to require two years of study to see marginal gains. Following this, expandedlongitudinal tests were conducted to investigate differences between paper anddigital formats. In changing to digital tests, clear differences were observedin student performance. These differences may be attributed to an increasinglyfine-grained assessment of students’ answer patterns afforded by digitalmaterials. Results simultaneously indicate how students develop fundamental Englishreading skills in Japanese schools, as well as ways in which students performusing materials of different media types.

  • Creation of item difficulties for English sound-letter acquisition in elementary school

    2022   Luke K. Fryer, Kaori Nakao

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    Funding was used to create and refine item response theorymodels of the difficulty of individual English phonemes. Elementary schoolstudents responded to digital prompts. Results indicate an increased difficultyfor both complex vowels and less regular letter-sound combinations (e.g., u, v). Statistical analyses of the cross-sectional results indicated three separate types of phonemes: those with relative parity with Japanese (easier), those with irregular parity with Japanese (more difficult), and those with poor parity with Japanese (hardest). Vowel sounds not represented by common Japanese sounds comprised the largest part of the two more difficult factors, and showed the greatest difficulty across all grades tested. Results indicate the necessity to continuouslyre-assess sound-letter connection difficulties, both for students with readingproblems and for students acquiring initial sound-letter fluency.

  • Developing a test for the building blocks of language in elementary school classrooms

    2021   Luke K Fryer, Kaori Nakao

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    Through the support of this research, my research partners and I have developed a fundamental test of phonemic awareness for use in elementary school English classes in Japanese public schools, and ported that test to a tablet-based web application. We have made the most recent paper available as an open pre-print with the Open Science Foundation’s SocArXiv platform, available at https://osf.io/3xg5n. Further papers are currently being prepared for submission and will be released as public pre-prints. The tests will undergo alpha and beta testing during the 2022-2023 school year. Completion of a working gamified computer adaptive test product is expected by mid 2022.

  • ICT platform development for gamified elementary school English reading and writing

    2020   Luke Fryer, Kaori Nakao

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    Through the support of this research, my research partners and I have developed a fundamental test of phonemic awareness for use in elementary school English classes in Japanese public schools. The initial validations for this test are currently under review with international language education journals. We have made the first paper available as an open pre-print with the Open Science Foundation’s SocArXiv platform, available at https://doi.org/10.31235/osf.io/hdf2s. Further papers are currently being prepared for submission and will be released as public pre-prints. Based on these tests of phonemes, my co-researchers and I are working with programmers to build the front and back-ends of the ICT based test delivery platform. A basic proof of concept version of the software has been developed, and is undergoing further refinement before pilot testing in elementary schools. Completion of a final gamified product is expected by mid 2021. The research was further supported by JSPS Overseas Fellowship Grant S20135.

  • Implementing motivational principles for English,Japanese,and mathematics in public junior high schools

    2019   Luke K. Fryer, Yoshiyuki Nakata

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    Teachers of different subjects can effectively motivatetheir students using a combination of cross-subject and subject-specificmethods. In this project, I met with teachers and focused on theirsubject-specific methods of teaching mathematics, Japanese, and English as aforeign language as a follow up to previous survey work.Across subjects, effective teachers provided specificinteractional feedback and worked to make the subject matter comprehensible toindividual students. Less effective teachers often claimed that they did nothave time to provide individualized feedback on learning. In mathematics, specifically identifying ways that studentsstruggled and providing both whole class and individual worked examples ofmethods for solving the mathematics helped motivate students. In Japanese classes, teachers who appealed to individualstudents’ interests in the Japanese language and methods of expression helped toprovide more intrinsic motivation.In English classes, teachers who used English forcomprehensible communication through gestures, interaction, and occasionalgames were more effective at motivating their students.While repeated Kanji writing practice was helpful inimproving students’ Japanese motivation, repeated English penmanship practicewas not useful in improving motivation, suggesting that penmanship notebooksmay have a negative motivational effect.Across English and Japanese classes, students found that teachers who focus mostly on grammar and written communication were not as interesting or motivting.In mathematics classes, teachers who gave tests with lowerfrequency were also likely to have less intrinsically motivated students,indicating that regular low-stakes quizzes may help students’ self-efficacy andmotivation.These findings are now being used as principles fordeveloping a digital learning platform for providing improved student feedback.

  • Investigating foreign language motivation, self-concept, and achievement in secondary schools

    2017   Luke K. Fryer

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    In this study, I surveyed junior high school students to test their ability beliefs and achievement in Mathematics, Japanese, and English. Prior research has shown that ability beliefs, including self-efficacy and self-concept, can be powerful predictors of success in school. Using a cross-lag auto-lag design, the results showed that ability beliefs for each subject (Mathematics, Japanese, and English) predicted self-concept in the same subject. Likewise, ability beliefs for each subject predicted achievement in those subjects. Only cross-subject (i.e. Mathmatics -> English, English -> Japanese) predictive relationship was found. A positive ability to use English lead to greater confidence for Japanese, with indirect effects on achievement.Based on these results, I conclude that Japanese junior high school students who had developed a positive self-concept for English at the beginning of their first year of junior high school developed a more positive self-concept for Japanese by the end of that same school year. Based on these results and conclusions, we see that students' early learning of English can have positive effects on their own language confidence and achievement. These results indicate that early foreign language learning has positive long term effects.

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